Austin Daniel died of heart failure on Sept. 7, 2009, leaving behind a 26-year-old widow and 22-month-old Anna Lee, his mother wrote in a military blog discussing burn pit issues.
On May 28, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed SB538, authored by Sen. John Smith, known as the Staff Sgt. William Austin Daniel Military Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry Act of 2014.
The bill was modeled after a 1985 registry to notify Vietnam veterans of the ongoing health complications of exposure to Agent Orange, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, ischemic heart disease, prostate cancer and a number of other serious medical issues.
Since 1985, according to the bill, many Gulf War-era and post-9/11 veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn are suffering from illnesses that may have been caused by exposure to open-air burn pits. Many open-air burn pits were operated close to where many soldiers were housed during wartime, the bill says.